Friday, August 28, 2009


I remember an archeology program on TV about excavations in Jerusalem. 3000 years of existence give plenty to dig. 'Here are our true roots, not in some shtetl in Poland', the archeologist said. Perhaps he's right, but 2000 years of diaspora made their mark on the Jews.
Deportation and enslaving by the Romans, burn-alive, torture and deportation by Spanish Inquisition, pogroms and other atrocities were all suffered before the terms 'human rights' and UN were invented.

For some reason unknown to me, lately I think more and more about the Holocaust. The other day, I was standing in my shower and thinking about the poor souls who were told they are about to take a shower, just to die suffocated by Zyklon-B a few minutes later. I wonder what they felt in those last moments. It's not that I am in a generally morbid mood, it just crept up on me.

When it comes to certain isues, my usual logic is suddenly suppressed by emotions. An American gentile acquaintance of mine (now in a divorce process from an Israeli) asked me for a recommendation letter to help him with the authorities against his residency revocation. I hesitated. On one hand he is a nice person and a potential positive citizen, on the other hand, he is not Jewish.
Israel is not like any other country, very deep roots and emotions attach the Jews to it, even those who do not live here. The sheer fact of its existence gives Jews around the world a sense of security and pride. It is true that many non Jews also live in Israel, spouses or family members of Jews, and native arabs. For those who don't fall into one of these categories, no citizenship is granted by law.
After an internal debate, I realize that luckily I don't have to make the decision. The Minstry of Interior has. That's why my taxes pay their salaries. I write a letter listing all his achievemnts here, as objectively as I possibly can and send it to his lawyer.

Forty years after WWII, Jewish genealogy was one of two major Internet applications. (Sex was the other one, in case you wondered.) The primary challenge of the Jewish people today is bonding together the Jews who live in Israel with those outside it. One great way of doing this is the Taglit-Birthright project. Dan just returned from a week of accompanying 30 Hungarian Jewish youngsters. Don't know how the trip affected the Hungarians, but Dan's Hungarian improved significantly.

I am thinking of visiting the death camps in Poland around Passover. Just feel every Jew must go there once. Some read books, some watch movies and some feel they have to physically touch the remnants of evil. The plans of Auschwitz have been recently found and handed to the Israeli PM during his visit to Germany.

The residency issue is not over. Now I'm facing a series a emails on behalf of my acquaintance requesting me to donate money to pay his lawyer. After some soul searching, a gut feeling takes over me. I'd rather have a [criminal] Jew as a citizen than a honest gentile.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Between Love and Violence

What sort of sick mind would starve her own 3-years old child to 7 kg and make him undergo several unnecessary medical treatments and hospitalizations? Sick or criminal? Whatever the answer, when a child is abused in his own home, he is left without a safe harbor, he ventures into the world without a base camp. What kind of life is that when you can't trust anyone and don't have a refuge? Will he be able to have a normal life as an adult? To establish his own family and provide a safe environment for it? I guess it depends on your age when something like this happens and the help you get. He is still young, he can make it. I hope.

Former Israeli TV rating king Dudu Topaz grew up in a normal family and made it to unprecedented stardom, but ended up hanging himself in prison after ordering attacks on influential TV people who wouldn't hire him anymore. He could have done a million good things with the money and time he had, but he perceived himself worthless without audience adoration and that affected his psyche and acts. He lost his internal compass and got addicted to liking by others until his self definition became completely dependant on external rewards. Sick or criminal? In this case, it doesn't really matter anymore.

According to Aaron Ben Ze'ev and Ruhama Goussinsky's 'In the name of love', 'some of the worst evils have been committed in the name of love'. Just extrapolate the romantic love analyzed by Ben Ze'ev to love of a child and love of audience to get some indirect insights to the cases above.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My First Demonstration

I watch demonstrations on TV from my armchair in my airconditioned living room, no matter how just the cause. Many times I wondered what would be THE reason to make me actually get up and demonstrate. Perhaps personal freedom or religious coercion.

Well, life proved stronger than any planning. Following the hate attack at the Tel Aviv gay center a week ago, I was one of 25,000 people who demonstrated yesterday in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. As I circulated among the protesters, I overheard a woman asking about the meaning of a 'closet' and a youngster saying he's there with his lesbian aunt. Everybody looked straight into my eyes (usual Israeli behavior) as if they were trying to figure out my ties to the GLBT community. Or at least so I felt.

One sign said 'My son is gay, so what?' and another 'Today they hate gays, tomorrow they hate you'. This is probably the reason many came to demonstrate. They realized hatred has only a beginning, but no end. Today they hate gays, tomorrow they'll hate fat people, or bald people or any group you can imagine.

After a few speeches, I went to find some icecream. I'm not a serious protester. Yet.